October 27th, 2012
10:12 AM ET
10 years ago

TV filmmakers defend 'Seal Team Six,' take incoming

(CNN) - The filmmakers who made a TV movie about the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which is scheduled to air on the National Geographic Channel just two days before Election Day, rejected suggestions that the timing of the release is political.

"This film is about history, not politics," said movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, in a statement to CNN.

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But the November 4 air date for the movie, which retells the drama of a military operation that the Obama campaign has highlighted as a reason to re-elect the president, has come in for some criticism.

"Any time you've got a movie coming out two nights before the election – and being made by Harvey Weinstein, who is a prominent Democrat and a huge supporter of Obama's – of course it raises eyebrows," said Republican strategist Ana Navarro, a CNN contributor.

Weinstein has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats over the past few cycles, although in his statement to CNN he pointed out that he also has given to Republican George Pataki and independent Michael Bloomberg.

Director John Stockwell says Weinstein, after buying the movie, recommended mixing in more actual news footage – of Afghanistan, of Pakistan, some White House footage, and clips of Americans celebrating when news of the raid got out. But, he said, "no one put more Obama in, or anything that made Obama look any better."

CNN has not seen the movie. While "Seal Team Six" is primarily an action movie about the dangerous mission to Pakistan by American special operations forces, it also portrays the tension in Washington over whether to authorize the mission – which Pres. Obama ultimately did.

"If anything, the movie is pretty tough on him," said Stockwell, "because it really raises all the what-ifs. What if the compound had been rigged to explode? What if there had been Stinger missiles? What if that helicopter crash had resulted in Americans dying? And the biggest what-if: What if he wasn't there? And I think there would be no second term if he wasn't there."

But some conservatives, including media critic Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, are crying foul.

"This smacks of politics," he said. "It certainly is going to influence the political equation."

By focusing on a mission that turned out to be one of the administration's biggest successes, Bozell said, "it's going to portray the president in the highest light possible, with a message that highlights the high-water mark of this presidency."

A blog post on the conservative news site Breitbart.com calls the movie "a multi-million dollar, two hour pro-Obama campaign advertisement."

The National Geographic Channel insists the movie and its timing are not political. And Stockwell points out that the channel's corporate stakeholders don't exactly look like Obama supporters.

"National Geographic is partially owned by Fox, and I'm not sure that they have any secret agenda to get Obama re-elected," he said.

Bozell argues that if the channel is not politically motivated, it should postpone the air date by a few days until after the election. But National Geographic said their deal allowing Netflix to stream it November 5 leaves them no room to postpone.

Navarro, the Republican strategist, says regardless of whether the film was intended to help Democrats, in the end she thinks it won't.

"We have to give the American voters credit," she said. "I don't think the American electorate is fickle enough to make up their minds based on a Hollywood movie."

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Filed under: 2012 • Osama bin Laden • President Obama
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Yonni

    What is wrong for the American heroism depicted by the Americans? Isn’t appropriate to celebrate a single significant achievement in a ten year war? Why some people are unhappy Osama is dead?

    October 27, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    The movie is entirely from Obama's viewpoint, so why isn't it POLITICAL????

    October 27, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. 1crusader

    The right wing has treated President Obama worst than any other president in my lifetime, including Bill Clinton( which I didn't think was possible).They have told more liies,and made up more slanderous narratives and books than I've ever seen.Dinesh D'Souza made a movie against him that has come out within the last weeks of the election to hurt him.They have all conducted a smear campaign against him to try to destroy him; so let's bring some fairness and balance to this with some truth about something good and courageous that he did.

    October 27, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. freedom

    Correction – Weinsten is exploiting the Seal Team – which the Obama admin. placed in harm's way by bragging about the mission. It's all a big mess and catastrophe – I'm sure he'll make a film about Benghazi too – swayed to benefit this admin. – propogandist.

    October 27, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. GI Joe

    It won't influence me any more than Obama 2016.

    But then, I've already voted for Obama/Biden.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha

    October 27, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    The director better watch out, if the movie is offensive to muslims, the uhbama may have him arrested.

    October 27, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. LMB

    Why was there no hue and cry when the denigrating movie about President Obama was released a couple of weeks ago. That film was most certainly a "hatchet job", and deliberating released prior to an election. Call them hypocrites!

    October 27, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. Hugo

    Gee, can't wait to see the movie "Mob Attack at Benghazi", were Barrack Obama plays himself as an inept Commander in Chief, supported by Hillary Clinton played by Roseanne Barr as a dried up washed out political hack. Watch in 3-D as an unruly mob of folks armed with rocket launchers, mortars, grenades and more riot over a whacky fillm...watch as four Americans repeatedly call for help, only to be denied over and over...folks it will be an award winner!

    October 27, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Fact

    It seems like some extremists actually don’t want to celebrate the raid that removed Bin Laden and avenge the lives of those lost on 9/11. And yes, Seal Team Six deserve the credit for getting Bin Laden, and President Obama deserves the credit for making it a true priority in his Presidency and for giving the order. Unfortunately, extremists are politicizing this fact, because it is NOT FICTION OR RHETORIC, IT IS FACT! Again FACTS MATTER!

    October 27, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F

    I was proud to cast my vote for Obama this week. 'Proud' is something you will never hear a bagger who votes for lying Mittens say. Mittens has spent his whole life betting against America.

    October 27, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. PJ

    Right on! The "extremists" do, however, want to celebrate hate and ignorance, and they do that quite well.

    October 27, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. plain&simple

    What isn't political at this time?

    October 27, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Hugo

    Yep, heading down to the voting precinct in Florida here in a bit, funny I've seen only one Obama sign amongst the hundreds of Romney signs on the way, when I get there I'm pulling a straight Republican ticket vote..and guess what, I'm an Independent. I'm so proud to cast my vote for an Experienced Leader Mitt Romney that will undoubtedly correct the mistakes of the last four years of Obama.

    October 27, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. onlyfacts

    So 2016 wasn't political? No one on the right said, wait until after the election to release this movie. The sole purpose of the movie was to try to discourage people from voting for Obama. The movie was also full of crap. On the other hand, the bin Laden movie is about a great accomplishment that we all should be proud of. This article just proves the right are idiots!

    October 27, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. becky

    Oh sure Mr. Weinstein, Do you really expect us to believe that this is not political? You are showing a film based on the writings on one Seal while the others have maintained their vow to remain silent about their efforts. Perhaps he wasn't there when the Seals made that promise!

    October 27, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Really???

    Obama merely gave the FINAL "ok," nothing more - merely a matter of timing, and any other president would have done the same thing. The Osama capture began years ago with careful intelligence gathering, serious interrogations (which Obama derided for years), and above all the bravery of our men in uniform. Obama just sat in a chair and watched from the safety of the White House - whoopdie-doo! However, airing this so close to the election is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY POLITICAL AND DISGUSTING! I won't be watching it.

    October 27, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Freya

    Talk about Hypocrisy by the Republican party, What's that anti Obama film they made before the start of the election season. THEY CAN DISH OUT BUT CAN'T TAKE A FILM THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE PRESIDENT'S MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT.

    October 27, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Reggie from LA

    I note that there was no delay getting out 2016 Obama's America. It wasn't "politically motivated". Yeah, right. Besides that. So what. What's Bozelle worried about? It'll make Obama look good? He already looks good for the decision. He looks good for slowing down the train to economic desolation. What's Romney got? That vampire capitalism, the Olympics and that failed stint in his gubernatorial role? He's the guy we want at the helm of our nation. Play the danged movie!!! Quit whining.

    October 27, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. A little sad


    What isn't political at this time?

    Very good point.

    October 27, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. GOP = Madness

    So is the movie "Obama 2016", just a movie? Republicans can dish it out but they sure can't take it.

    October 27, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Just a thought

    @ Freedom i.e. – Mindless, The actual Seal Team members consulted on the film....so tell us how the Obama administration is putting them in harm's way? Did you actually read the article about how it

    Excerpt from the article itself : "If anything, the movie is pretty tough on him," said Stockwell, "because it really raises all the what-ifs.

    If it weren't for facts you might be right about something. but keep trying, even a blind squirrel can find a nut every now and again

    October 27, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |